Economic News Release

Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, October 20, 2011                 USDL-11-1501

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


               USUAL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF WAGE AND SALARY WORKERS
                              THIRD QUARTER 2011              


Median weekly earnings of the nation's 101.4 million full-time wage and salary 
workers were $753 in the third quarter of 2011 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 1.8 percent higher than a year 
earlier, compared with a gain of 3.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban
Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.

Data on usual weekly earnings are collected as part of the Current Population Survey, 
a nationwide sample survey of households in which respondents are asked, among other 
things, how much each wage and salary worker usually earns. (See the Technical Note.) 
Data shown in this release are not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.
Highlights from the third-quarter data are:

   --Seasonally adjusted median weekly earnings were $758 in the third
     quarter of 2011, little changed from the previous quarter ($756). 
     (See table 1.)
     
   --On a not seasonally adjusted basis, median weekly earnings were $753 
     in the third quarter of 2011. Women who usually worked full time had 
     median weekly earnings of $673, or 81.4 percent of the $827 median
     for men. (See table 2.)

   --The female-to-male earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White 
     women earned 82.5 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared 
     with black (90.2 percent), Asian (70.1 percent), and Hispanic women 
     (92.9 percent). (See table 2.)

   --Among the major race and ethnicity groups, median weekly earnings
     for black men working at full-time jobs were $661 per week, or 78.0
     percent of the median for white men ($847). The difference was less
     among women, as black women's median earnings ($596) were 85.3 percent
     of those for white women ($699). Overall, median earnings of Hispanics
     who worked full time ($545) were lower than those of blacks ($616),
     whites ($772), and Asians ($869). (See table 2.)
     
   --Usual weekly earnings of full-time workers varied by age. Among
     men, those age 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 had the highest median weekly
     earnings, $983 and $985, respectively. Usual weekly earnings were
     highest for women age 35 to 64; weekly earnings were $728 for women
     age 35 to 44, $741 for women age 45 to 54, and $748 for women age 55
     to 64. Workers age 16 to 24 had the lowest median weekly earnings, at
     $432. (See table 3.)
     
   --Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in 
     management, professional, and related occupations had the highest
     median weekly earnings--$1,267 for men and $946 for women. Men and
     women employed in service jobs earned the least, $528 and $427,
     respectively. (See table 4.)
     
   --By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without 
     a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $459, compared with 
     $636 for high school graduates (no college) and $1,152 for those holding 
     at least a bachelor's degree. Among college graduates with advanced 
     degrees (professional or master's degree and above), the highest earning 
     10 percent of male workers made $3,131 or more per week, compared with 
     $2,311 or more for their female counterparts. (See table 5.)



   ------------------------------------------------------------------
  |                                                                  |
  |   Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Usual Weekly Earnings Data     |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Usual Weekly Earnings news release for the fourth quarter of |
  | 2011 will incorporate annual revisions to seasonally adjusted    |
  | data for the number of full-time wage and salary workers and     |
  | median weekly earnings in current dollars. (See table 1.)        |
  | Estimates for constant (1982-84) dollar median weekly earnings   |
  | also will be affected by revisions to the current dollar series. |
  | Seasonally adjusted estimates back to the first quarter of 2007  |
  | will be subject to revision.                                     |
  |                                                                  |
   ------------------------------------------------------------------




Technical Note


   The estimates in this release were obtained from the Current Pop-
ulation Survey (CPS), which provides basic information on the labor 
force, employment, and unemployment.  The survey is conducted monthly 
for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau from a 
scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 households, 
with coverage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The earn-
ings data are collected from one-quarter of the CPS monthly sample and 
are limited to wage and salary workers (both incorporated and unincor-
porated self-employed are excluded).  The data, therefore, exclude self-
employment income.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory
impaired individuals upon request.  Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200;
Federal Relay Service:  (800) 877-8339.

Reliability

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and non-
sampling error.  When a sample rather than the entire population is
surveyed, there is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from
the "true" population values they represent.  The exact difference, or
sampling error, varies depending on the particular sample selected,
and this variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate.
There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an
estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard
errors from the "true" population value because of sampling error.
BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of
confidence.

   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error.  Nonsampling
errors can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a
segment of the population, inability to obtain information for all
respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents
to provide correct information on a timely basis, mistakes made by
respondents, and errors made in the collection or processing of the
data.

   A full discussion of the reliability of data from the Current Pop-
ulation Survey and information on estimating standard errors is avail-
able on the BLS Web site www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

Definitions

   The principal definitions used in connection with the earnings
series are described briefly below.

   Usual weekly earnings. Data represent earnings before taxes and
other deductions and include any overtime pay, commissions, or tips
usually received (at the main job in the case of multiple jobholders).
Prior to 1994, respondents were asked how much they usually earned per
week.  Since January 1994, respondents have been asked to identify the
easiest way for them to report earnings (hourly, weekly, biweekly,
twice monthly, monthly, annually, other) and how much they usually
earn in the reported time period.

   Earnings reported on a basis other than weekly are converted to a
weekly equivalent.  The term "usual" is as perceived by the respondent.
If the respondent asks for a definition of usual, interviewers are in-
structed to define the term as more than half the weeks worked during
the past 4 or 5 months.

   Medians (and other quantiles) of weekly earnings.  The median (or
upper limit of the second quartile) is the amount which divides a
given earnings distribution into two equal groups, one having earnings
above the median and the other having earnings below the median.  Ten
percent of a given distribution have earnings below the upper limit of
the first decile (90 percent have higher earnings); 25 percent have
earnings below the upper limit of the first quartile (75 percent have
higher earnings); 75 percent have earnings below the upper limit of
the third quartile (25 percent have higher earnings); and 90 percent
have earnings below the upper limit of the ninth decile (10 percent
have higher earnings).
   
   The estimation procedure places each reported or calculated weekly
earnings value into $50-wide intervals which are centered around
multiples of $50.  The actual value is estimated through the linear
interpolation of the interval in which the quantile boundary lies.

   Over-the-year changes in the medians (and other quantile boundaries)
for specific groups may not necessarily be consistent with the movements
estimated for the overall quantile boundary.  The most common reasons
for this possible anomaly are:  (1) There could be a change in the rel-
ative weights of the subgroups.  For example, the medians of both 16-
to-24 year olds and those 25 years and over may rise; but if the lower-
earning 16-to-24 group accounts for a greatly increased share of the
total, the overall median could actually fall.  (2) There could be a
large change in the shape of the distribution of reported earnings,
particularly near a quantile boundary.  This could be caused by survey
observations that are clustered at rounded values, such as $250, $300,
or $400.  An estimate lying in a $50-wide centered interval containing
such a cluster or "spike" tends to change more slowly than one in other
intervals.

   Wage and salary workers.  Workers who receive wages, salaries, com-
missions, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates.  The group includes em-
ployees in both the private and public sectors but, for the purposes of
the earnings series, excludes all self-employed persons, regardless of
whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

   Full-time workers.  Workers who usually work 35 hours or more per
week at their sole or principal job.

   Part-time workers.  Workers who usually work fewer than 35 hours
per week at their sole or principal job.

   Constant dollars.  The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers
(CPI-U) is used to convert current dollars to constant (1982-84) dollars.

   Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.  Refers to persons who identified
themselves in the enumeration process as being Spanish, Hispanic, or
Latino.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino
may be of any race.

Seasonal adjustment

   Over the course of a year, the size of the nation's labor force and 
other measures of labor market activity undergo regularly occurring 
fluctuations. These recurring events include seasonal changes in weather, 
major holidays, and the opening and closing of schools. The effect of 
such seasonal variations can be very large.

   Because seasonal events follow a more or less regular pattern each 
year, their influence on the level of a series can be tempered by adjust-
ing for regular seasonal variation. These adjustments make nonseasonal 
developments easier to spot. The seasonally adjusted figures provide a more 
useful tool with which to analyze changes in quarter-to-quarter activity.

   At the end of each calendar year, the seasonally adjusted data are re-
vised for the past 5 years when the seasonal adjustment factors are updated.  
More information on seasonal adjustment is available on the BLS Web site at 
www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#sa.




Table 1. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by sex, quarterly averages, seasonally adjusted
Year and quarter Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
Total Men Women In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
Total
$
Men
$
Women
$
Total
$
Men
$
Women
$

2002

3rd Quarter

100,183 56,390 43,793 608 679 531 337 376 294

4th Quarter

99,895 56,224 43,670 610 683 540 336 376 298

2003

1st Quarter

100,136 56,079 44,057 615 689 546 335 376 297

2nd Quarter

100,255 56,013 44,242 619 692 551 338 378 301

3rd Quarter

100,139 56,178 43,961 621 697 554 337 378 300

4th Quarter

100,628 56,607 44,021 623 702 560 337 379 302

2004

1st Quarter

100,905 56,848 44,057 629 705 562 337 378 301

2nd Quarter

101,135 56,914 44,221 642 715 576 341 380 306

3rd Quarter

101,148 56,931 44,217 635 712 574 335 376 303

4th Quarter

101,658 57,289 44,369 646 720 577 337 376 302

2005

1st Quarter

102,091 57,710 44,381 647 723 580 336 376 302

2nd Quarter

103,201 58,099 45,101 647 714 584 334 369 301

3rd Quarter

104,310 58,843 45,467 651 723 588 331 368 299

4th Quarter

104,605 58,967 45,638 658 730 588 332 368 296

2006

1st Quarter

104,708 58,960 45,748 662 737 594 332 370 298

2nd Quarter

105,798 59,831 45,966 663 732 597 329 364 296

3rd Quarter

107,041 60,060 46,981 678 755 603 334 372 297

4th Quarter

106,847 60,140 46,707 681 748 607 337 370 300

2007

1st Quarter

107,134 60,063 47,072 687 751 609 336 368 298

2nd Quarter

106,819 60,346 46,473 693 765 610 335 370 295

3rd Quarter

107,156 60,220 46,936 698 774 620 336 372 298

4th Quarter

108,251 60,571 47,680 700 774 614 332 368 292

2008

1st Quarter

107,740 60,328 47,412 712 782 633 335 368 297

2nd Quarter

107,061 59,588 47,473 723 801 637 335 372 296

3rd Quarter

106,088 59,246 46,841 724 803 636 331 367 291

4th Quarter

105,711 58,601 47,109 727 807 646 340 378 302

2009

1st Quarter

101,612 56,231 45,381 731 814 645 344 383 304

2nd Quarter

100,033 55,246 44,787 737 817 655 345 383 307

3rd Quarter

98,949 54,425 44,525 742 820 663 345 381 308

4th Quarter

98,702 54,534 44,168 747 825 665 345 380 307

2010

1st Quarter

98,071 54,026 44,044 747 834 662 343 383 304

2nd Quarter

99,674 55,062 44,612 744 813 674 342 374 310

3rd Quarter

100,242 55,524 44,718 745 822 668 342 377 306

4th Quarter

100,132 55,620 44,512 751 829 675 342 378 307

2011

1st Quarter

99,698 55,312 44,385 749 820 679 337 369 306

2nd Quarter

100,397 55,845 44,552 756 828 689 337 369 307

3rd Quarter

100,263 55,916 44,347 758 835 681 335 369 301

NOTE: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 2. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not seasonally adjusted
Characteristic Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
3rd
2010
3rd
2011
In current dollars In constant (1982-84) dollars
3rd
2010
3rd
2011
3rd
2010
3rd
2011

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

101,385 101,447 $740 $753 $339 $332

Men, 16 years and over

56,473 56,900 813 827 373 365

16 to 24 years

5,454 5,433 424 440 194 195

25 years and over

51,019 51,466 869 888 398 392

Women, 16 years and over

44,912 44,548 662 673 304 297

16 to 24 years

4,172 3,957 419 422 192 186

25 years and over

40,741 40,591 702 713 322 315

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

82,280 82,357 759 772 348 341

Men

47,013 47,275 839 847 384 374

Women

35,267 35,082 677 699 310 308

Black or African American

11,761 11,633 611 616 280 272

Men

5,398 5,420 634 661 290 292

Women

6,363 6,213 590 596 270 263

Asian

5,000 5,116 854 869 391 384

Men

2,737 2,895 963 1,015 441 448

Women

2,263 2,221 773 712 354 315

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

15,067 15,324 522 545 239 241

Men

9,433 9,627 539 562 247 248

Women

5,634 5,697 503 522 230 231

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 3. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by age, race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, and sex, 3rd quarter 2011 averages, not seasonally adjusted
Age, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity Total Men Women
Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Median
weekly
earnings
Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Median
weekly
earnings
Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Median
weekly
earnings

TOTAL

16 years and over

101,447 $753 56,900 $827 44,548 $673

16 to 24 years

9,390 432 5,433 440 3,957 422

16 to 19 years

1,182 356 682 370 500 338

20 to 24 years

8,208 448 4,751 458 3,457 436

25 years and over

92,057 798 51,466 888 40,591 713

25 to 54 years

73,332 785 41,233 869 32,099 707

25 to 34 years

24,618 693 14,083 719 10,534 659

35 to 44 years

23,698 832 13,573 940 10,126 728

45 to 54 years

25,016 867 13,577 983 11,439 741

55 years and over

18,725 849 10,233 964 8,492 737

55 to 64 years

15,804 867 8,513 985 7,291 748

65 years and over

2,921 758 1,719 839 1,201 643

White

16 years and over

82,357 772 47,275 847 35,082 699

16 to 24 years

7,761 435 4,607 443 3,154 426

25 years and over

74,596 824 42,668 907 31,928 737

25 to 54 years

58,821 811 33,922 888 24,899 730

55 years and over

15,775 876 8,745 985 7,030 761

Black or African American

16 years and over

11,633 616 5,420 661 6,213 596

16 to 24 years

1,041 404 517 418 524 384

25 years and over

10,592 640 4,903 691 5,689 611

25 to 54 years

8,758 642 4,061 685 4,697 615

55 years and over

1,834 630 842 754 992 587

Asian

16 years and over

5,116 869 2,895 1,015 2,221 712

16 to 24 years

294 496 147 465 148 542

25 years and over

4,822 904 2,749 1,058 2,073 731

25 to 54 years

4,025 919 2,298 1,101 1,727 752

55 years and over

797 817 450 980 347 626

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

16 years and over

15,324 545 9,627 562 5,697 522

16 to 24 years

1,958 414 1,321 408 637 441

25 years and over

13,367 579 8,306 598 5,060 545

25 to 54 years

11,774 578 7,358 596 4,416 547

55 years and over

1,593 584 948 612 645 523

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 4. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by occupation and sex, quarterly averages, not seasonally adjusted
Occupation and sex Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
3rd
2010
3rd
2011
3rd
2010
3rd
2011

TOTAL

Management, professional, and related occupations

39,301 40,029 $1,062 $1,092

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

15,830 16,429 1,149 1,174

Professional and related occupations

23,471 23,600 1,010 1,032

Service occupations

14,774 14,776 466 474

Sales and office occupations

23,474 23,051 637 625

Sales and related occupations

9,306 9,376 667 658

Office and administrative support occupations

14,168 13,675 624 616

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

10,445 10,342 713 722

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

789 869 436 437

Construction and extraction occupations

5,510 5,224 710 715

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,145 4,249 797 787

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

13,391 13,250 594 611

Production occupations

7,226 6,867 596 609

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,165 6,383 591 614

Men

Management, professional, and related occupations

19,220 19,507 1,255 1,267

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

8,750 8,745 1,308 1,372

Professional and related occupations

10,470 10,762 1,218 1,199

Service occupations

7,467 7,535 511 528

Sales and office occupations

9,105 9,253 746 737

Sales and related occupations

5,184 5,295 803 835

Office and administrative support occupations

3,920 3,958 687 677

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

10,007 9,927 720 730

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

595 685 465 463

Construction and extraction occupations

5,404 5,132 709 717

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

4,008 4,110 803 786

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

10,674 10,678 624 645

Production occupations

5,313 5,048 656 672

Transportation and material moving occupations

5,361 5,631 607 624

Women

Management, professional, and related occupations

20,081 20,522 921 946

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

7,080 7,684 983 980

Professional and related occupations

13,001 12,838 893 927

Service occupations

7,307 7,241 425 427

Sales and office occupations

14,370 13,798 596 592

Sales and related occupations

4,122 4,081 519 521

Office and administrative support occupations

10,248 9,717 610 606

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

438 415 486 503

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

195 184 393 362

Construction and extraction occupations

107 92 739 574

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

137 139 628 865

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

2,717 2,571 476 491

Production occupations

1,914 1,819 488 489

Transportation and material moving occupations

804 752 413 498

NOTE: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 5. Quartiles and selected deciles of usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, 3rd quarter 2011 averages, not seasonally adjusted
Characteristic Number of
workers
(in
thousands)
Upper limit of:
First decile First
quartile
Second
quartile
(median)
Third
quartile
Ninth
decile

SEX, RACE, AND HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY

Total, 16 years and over

101,447 $357 $497 $753 $1,175 $1,814

Men

56,900 378 523 827 1,312 1,939

Women

44,548 337 466 673 1,025 1,525

White

82,357 363 505 772 1,206 1,850

Men

47,275 381 536 847 1,337 1,979

Women

35,082 342 478 699 1,050 1,547

Black or African American

11,633 329 435 616 942 1,405

Men

5,420 344 474 661 1,004 1,457

Women

6,213 317 412 596 870 1,308

Asian

5,116 382 522 869 1,426 2,096

Men

2,895 404 619 1,015 1,735 2,324

Women

2,221 353 474 712 1,138 1,741

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

15,324 310 392 545 832 1,237

Men

9,627 314 400 562 875 1,290

Women

5,697 302 377 522 776 1,145

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

Total, 25 years and over

92,057 382 525 798 1,233 1,876

Less than a high school diploma

7,029 292 350 459 624 887

High school graduates, no college(1)

25,298 353 468 636 921 1,278

Some college or associate degree

25,143 383 511 731 1,070 1,479

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

34,588 566 789 1,152 1,753 2,466

Bachelor's degree only

21,750 518 727 1,047 1,565 2,125

Advanced degree

12,838 656 937 1,354 1,978 2,892

Men, 25 years and over

51,466 402 582 888 1,372 2,018

Less than a high school diploma

4,818 301 369 489 684 973

High school graduates, no college(1)

14,959 391 516 720 1,030 1,424

Some college or associate degree

13,366 416 586 839 1,203 1,643

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

18,323 597 894 1,331 1,919 2,875

Bachelor's degree only

11,486 574 814 1,198 1,817 2,417

Advanced degree

6,837 697 1,066 1,578 2,294 3,131

Women, 25 years and over

40,591 357 491 713 1,067 1,565

Less than a high school diploma

2,211 278 323 404 539 727

High school graduates, no college(1)

10,339 320 405 545 743 1,039

Some college or associate degree

11,776 354 472 625 902 1,235

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

16,265 529 726 993 1,445 1,985

Bachelor's degree only

10,265 497 657 931 1,297 1,806

Advanced degree

6,001 632 855 1,154 1,683 2,311

Footnotes
(1) Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
(2) Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.

NOTE: Ten percent of all full-time wage and salary workers earn less than the upper limit of the first decile; 25 percent earn less than the upper limit of the first quartile; 50 percent earn less than the upper limit of the second quartile, or median; 75 percent earn less than the upper limit of the third quartile; and 90 percent earn less than the upper limit of the ninth decile. Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Table 6. Median usual weekly earnings of part-time wage and salary workers by selected characteristics, quarterly averages, not seasonally adjusted
Characteristic Number of workers
(in thousands)
Median weekly earnings
3rd
2010
3rd
2011
3rd
2010
3rd
2011

SEX AND AGE

Total, 16 years and over

23,405 24,103 $234 $237

Men, 16 years and over

8,005 8,463 226 233

16 to 24 years

3,286 3,598 181 186

25 years and over

4,719 4,865 269 294

Women, 16 years and over

15,400 15,641 239 239

16 to 24 years

4,402 4,476 176 181

25 years and over

10,998 11,165 276 275

RACE, HISPANIC OR LATINO ETHNICITY, AND SEX

White

19,506 19,858 234 238

Men

6,406 6,763 225 235

Women

13,100 13,095 239 240

Black or African American

2,402 2,585 230 220

Men

1,007 1,036 226 214

Women

1,396 1,549 232 224

Asian

914 950 253 271

Men

375 383 238 274

Women

539 567 264 269

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,267 3,484 228 239

Men

1,324 1,412 234 246

Women

1,943 2,072 224 236

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Last Modified Date: October 20, 2011
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